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Monthly Archives: November 2011
I like to talk about — and drink — the wines from my local region, not just to support local businesses, but also because the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation has a wine-growing tradition that goes back over 100 years and winemakers here are making some truly spectacular wines.
The Santa Cruz AVA — American Viticultural Area — runs pretty much along the fog line along the coast. The grapes grown here, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Merlot, reflect both the mountain terrain and the maritime influences of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay on the west and San Francisco Bay to the north and the wines are known for their complexity, minerality and acidity.
The 70+ wineries in the region are mostly small and family-owned
and dotted along picturesque mountain roads. They are also all committed to sustainable agricultural practices. A wonderful holiday trip can be spent traveling along the various wine trails, visiting winemakers and tasting. Or you can come to our studios for our weekend “For The Loves of Grapes and Glass” tours and tastings, where you can tour our studios to learn how we make our glass and then head into a tasting, where award winning local wines are available for tasting and purchase.
While much of the holiday weekend was about food, it wasn’t all about the turkey for me and my family. Having everyone around and gathered in the kitchen also gave us time and inspiration to make some other from-scratch dishes. One night we invited my friend Caitlin Ross Odom over for dinner. Caitlin is an accomplished jewelry maker and I sell her sea glass and shell pieces in my Santa Cruz store. We decided to make fresh spaghetti. Making fresh pasta does take some time — and space – but it was a great way to spend some time together, and the results are worth the effort. My daughter Ava rolled out the pasta by hand and my son Ian somehow managed to make the finest and thinnest noodles of us all. We hung the strands on laundry racks to dry.
Pasta is simple to make and only takes a few ingredients. You can make it by hand or use a machine. And once you get the hang of it you can add herbs or vegetables to flavor or color the dough. Here’s a basic egg pasta dough recipe to get you started.
Fresh Egg Pasta
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- Pour the flour onto a clean workplace and sprinkle with salt. Mix with your hands until the salt is incorporated.
- Gather the mixture into a mound and make a deep well in the center.
- Crack the eggs into the well. With a fork, stir the eggs as if you were making scrambled eggs.
- Gradually start mixing flour into the egg mixture. It will seem a little messy at first, but gradually a dough will form.
- Once the dough is too dense to work with the fork, start kneading the dough by hand. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. When that happens, cover the dough with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
Then you are ready to roll the dough out and make noodles.
When you are cooking your pasta, remember that fresh-made pasta takes less than 5 minutes to cook.
I just had to share with you the amazing Thanksgiving salad that my friend and neighbor Wicki VanDeVeer brought over, to my great delight. This fresh, local and seasonal salad was made up of seven kinds of greens, heirloom beets, hearts of both artichoke and palm, radishes and blackberries, all tossed with a lovely and tangy Asiago vinaigrette. It was so abundant that you couldn’t even see my vintage Annieglass Daisy bowl underneath.
To create your own version of Wicki’s salad, toss a variety of greens with in-season vegetables and berries with this easy version of Wicki’s vinaigrette that you can make quickly in a blender or food processor:
Asiago Vinaigrette Recipe
- 1 minced shallot
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
- 1 tsp lemon juice.
- sea salt and finely ground pepper
Blend the first three ingredients until they are fully mixed. Slowly add the cheese and yogurt until you have a smooth mixture. If it seems too thick you can drizzle in some more olive oil until it’s the consistency you like. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
A reminder that today — Cyber Monday — is the last chance to use the special discount that we are offering readers of this blog. Use the code “grateful” for a 10% discount.
I hope that you and your loved ones had an amazing Thanksgiving. I had a lovely day with family and friends and am hoping that it continues for the next few days. I’ll fill you in on the festivities on Monday but wanted to give you a peek at my Thanksgiving table, snapped as we were setting up — at this stage I was still trying to squeeze in two more place settings!
The dinner plate is my Annieglass B.C. frosted glass plate and from my collection of vintage Annieglass, we used the Orchid salad plates and Malibu drinking glasses.
At Annieglass we are very grateful for you, and as a thank you to our loyal friends and customers, we would like to offer you a special Black Friday discount at our web store. Use code “grateful” to receive 10% off your order, valid online only from November 25th, 2011 to November 28th, 2011.
Wine is a big part of a holiday meal, which is one reason I love to design wine coasters. For Thanksgiving I like to serve both a red and a white wine to suit everyone’s preferences. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are both perfect for Thanksgiving because they are food-friendly and can pair pretty well with all the various food and spices that make up the meal. I also like to highlight some really wonderful local vineyards.
- Hunter Hill Pinot Noir. This Santa Cruz, CA winery makes acclaimed Pinot Noirs with lots of deep berry fruit notes
- Alfaro Pinot Noir Also from Santa Cruz, these ruby red wines are always a hit.
- Testarosa Chardonnay These wines hailing from Central Coast California are rich, layered and a little bit exotic.
- Storrs Chardonnay This wine, made from fruit from the Santa Cruz mountains, are amazingly balanced and structured
- Talbott Vineyards Chardonnay This Monterey winemaker makes full-bodied and lushly classic Chardonnays.
I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving filled with all that you are grateful for. At Annieglass we are very grateful for you, and as a thank you to our loyal friends and customers, we would like to offer you a special Black Friday discount at our web store. Use code “grateful” to receive 10% off your order, valid online only from November 25th, 2011 to November 28th, 2011.